Review by Sam Korosi
Photos by Donna Jackson
You could feel the anticipation in the crowd on Saturday November 9th at the Epstein Theatre as clips of classic Mersey beat groups were played over the sound system building up the intro in preparation for the arrival of The Mersey Beatles. Then Mark Bloor, Ste Howard, Dave Howard and Brian Ambrose took the stage as John, Paul, George and Ringo rocking the mop tops, suits and Cuban heels.
|Mark Bloor as John Lennon|
The Mersey Beatles kicked off the first half of the show with songs from The Beatles' early career; songs from “Please Please Me” to “Revolver”. The group had the crowd singing along for the entire show as they played the familiar tunes such as “Twist and Shout”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and even some Beatles hits that a lot of tribute bands don't include in their sets like “I'll Follow The Sun” with an uncanny Beatles sound that the crowd absolutely adored.
|Ste Howard as Paul McCartney|
After the interval, the Mersey Beatles came back out onstage dressed in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band uniforms; joined by keyboard player Tony C. The band played songs off the number one album of all time.
The bands interaction with the crowd was fantastic. They had the whole audience singing along enthusiastically to “When I'm Sixty-Four”. Then finished the Sgt. Pepper's portion of the set with a spot on recreation of “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” and “A Day InThe Life”.
The show was very well transitioned; rather than having another interval, so the band could change into the Abbey Road outfits, as Dave Howard (George) and Mark Bloor (John) went off stage to get changed Ste Howard (Paul), Brian Ambrose (Ringo) and Tony C stayed on and played “The Long and Winding Road”. After that Dave Howard came back out in George's classic double denim off the Abbey Road cover, relieving Ste Howard and Brian Ambrose to change looks. The transitions were seamless as a beautiful acoustic Anthology/Love album version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was played by Dave and Tony C.
|Dave Howard (far right) as George Harrison|
The full band came back out to play some more tunes off The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road. The entire band had great stage presence. Each of the members displayed precise mannerisms of the persona they were portraying while playing their instruments.
The friendly banter between the band and the audience was fantastic; you could really tell that the audience was feeding off of the band's energy and vice versa. The Mersey Beatles finished off the set with “All You Need Is Love”, everyone in the audience who owned a mobile phone was waving them throughout the whole song. As the song finished the sea of lights faded as the crowd in the Epstein Theatre stood to give a standing ovation and cheer for an encore.
The request of the audience was honoured as The Mersey Beatles came back out and had the audience dancing once more to “Get Back”.
The audience was more than willing to have them play for much longer but as Mark Bloor (John) pointed out, the show had to end sometime, so the band brought out the crowd pleaser “Hey Jude”. Anyone who has ever seen any Beatles tribute band has heard “Hey Jude” done a million times but the Mersey Beatles really showed their musicianship in this rendition incorporating the drum solo from “The End” into the outro of the song; which was definitely a breath of fresh air and a very nice addition to the classic hit.
|Brian Ambrose as Ringo Starr|
Overall, The Mersey Beatles put on a fantastic show and had an excellent blend of the classic Beatles feel that fans expect and love while at the same time incorporating some of their own creative musical touches.
Fans of the Mersey Beatles will be delighted to know that the boys have two very special shows coming up.
They will be performing in the Live Lounge of the Cavern Club on Friday November 29, playing all your favourite Beatle hits, and including a special tribute to George Harrison. A few tickets are still available. Book online by clicking HERE
They are also back by popular demand at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, Wirral on Friday January 17, 2014, which will mark the last time that the Mersey Beatles will perform their full "Get Back to Liverpool" concert. Tickets are available from the theatre box office on online by following THIS LINK
Then, in the spring, an exciting new show is planned:
THE MERSEY BEATLES
A HARD DAYS NIGHT: A live tribute to the sights & sounds of The Beatles movies
IMAGINE: Imaginary Beatles reunion concert with Beatles hits & solo classics live
2 shows, one band, 40 songs.
And, as always with the Mersey Beatles, a splendid time is guaranteed for all!
Keep up to date with this exciting new show and all things Mersey Beatles at www.themerseybeatles.com